i've just been informed of proposed funding cuts to preparatory programmes at our universities. these are programmes for those who haven't managed to pass the NCEA entry requirements for a variety of reasons, and provide an alternative pathway to tertiary education. here are some further details:
Government funding pressures directed at universities and arguments that universities should not provide tertiary study preparation programmes are behind nationwide moves to eradicate university bridging programmes. In the Waikato region, university staff have been informed that there will be a “significant and possibly total reduction” in pre-degree offerings for domestic students.
Apparently, the University of Waikato is currently trying to negotiate with the Tertiary Education Commission to keep offerings which will cater for 80 students a year in its preparation programmes. Even if it succeeds, this is nothing compared with the usual 500 students per year who attend university preparation programmes, here in the Waikato! What will our country look like if only those who have a smooth run through high school get the opportunity to gain degrees? What about valuing diversity, inclusion, and equity?
Many students who do the preparation programmes have an immense contribution to make because they have experienced ‘life’s ups and downs’ at an early age, not to mention the fact that many of them miss UE because they were excelling at sports or taking up overseas exchange opportunities. Surely they deserve the chance to study at university, just like other school leavers!
All this seems to be going on very quietly, without the knowledge of, or discussion with key stakeholders like our local high schools and other organisations which support our young people.
In the current economic climate, we need the university preparation programmes for our young people more than ever. The message about what’s going on needs to be circulated. Funding decisions about the fate of our school leavers are being made by the Tertiary Education Commission, by Monday. After that, the university will be deciding how its commitment to these programmes can or cannot be delivered.
The University of Waikato Vice Chancellor needs to be given a strong message about how important these programmes are to our region so that he is encouraged to negotiate strongly to keep them and to follow through on their delivery after the negotiations. Here is a link being used to send this message to him. There is a letter template which you can add your name to so you can send this vital message directly to the Vice Chancellor. Please don’t hesitate, time is of the essence, but you can make a difference in less than a minute.
Please circulate this message to anyone you think supports these programmes.
another example of cuts being made with little or no consultation, and the bare minimum of publicity. the tertiary sector is already suffering from caps on student numbers, which means that infrastructure and staff resources to education thousands of students across the country will be wasted, because of the caps.
i can't understand the desire to cut access to tertiary education, particulary from a government that wants, apparently, to close the wage gap with australia. upskilling is the best way to improve wages. but this measure to cut preparatory programmes will marginalise those who already haven't been served well by our secondary system. and the whole country loses out when these people are denied the opportunity to improve their situation.